Wednesday, October 22, 2008

"No" to "No" for Water, Land, and Legacy

In Sunday's edition of the Star-Tribune, their editorial board came out against the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment. The motion, which will be on the ballot November 4th, proposes amending the state Constitution to include a state-wide sales-tax increase with the funding dedicated to environmental clean-up, preservation, and cultural ventures. While the annual revenue from the sales-tax would be around $271 Million and cost the average household only approximately $56 a year, the Star-Tribune took issue not with the principles of the bill, but with the method. The core of the Star-Tribunes "no" argument is that
Moving Minnesota toward a system of constitutional amendments to formulate funding would lock legislators and the governor into budgetary decisions that they are elected -- and paid -- to make.
Now, this is a valid argument for basic principles of democracy. With a constitutional amendment dictating (at least part of) the budget, the current state legislature cannot accurately claim to be totally representative of their constituents current needs or desires. Their hands would be tied by this amendment.

But isn't that the point? Maybe that's exactly what we need. This is not a political issue but a moral one; There is no red or blue when we're talking about saving Minnesota's green. Amending the state Constitution to include this act would take the issue of funding for environmental protection completely off the table for the annual budget.

There is precedent regarding amendments for allocation of taxes for the public good. In 2006, Minnesota voters passed the transportation amendment which dedicated the tax from all sales of motor-vehicles to improvements in public transportation and highways. State infrastructure is not something to be played around with in each budget. It is just too valuable to be left up to term-limited politicians with un-knowable agendas. It is the same situation with The Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment. We must take this extremely important issue into our own hands.

Let's lock in this amendment on November 4th with a "Yes" vote and seal the future of Minnesota's environmental well-being.

You can find more information about the amendment here.

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